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JOB SEEKER DISMISSES LAWSUIT OVER LOOKS

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A 33-year-old Spokane woman contends she was turned down for a county clerk job because of her good looks.

Connie Hart filed a $75,000 suit against Spokane County but agreed to dismiss it recently because she discovered state law apparently allows employers to deny employment based on appearance, she said.State law does not allow civil-rights suits "based on denial of employment based on one's physical appearance," defense attorney Hugh Lackie argued.

Hart's attorney, Terry Ryan, ultimately agreed, and Hart's suit was dismissed in late March.

"I feel like it was a real injustice to me," Hart said.

Hart was among 150 applicants for four office-assistant positions in Spokane County District Court in December 1988. The jobs, which paid $850 a month, generally involved filing, computer keyboarding and telephone duties.

Hart said she was among nine finalists and was interviewed twice by court administrator Terry Edwards and supervisory personnel in January 1989.

She said Edwards later called her and told her she wouldn't be hired.

"He told me, `You're a very attractive lady, and we've decided not to hire you because you're so attractive.'

"I was silent for a minute on the phone and told him I didn't understand the reason behind it," Hart said. "But I hear it all the time."

She said she contacted a lawyer the next day.

Hart said Edwards said that on his own, he would have hired her, but he was outvoted by two women supervisory staffers. Hart said Edwards later offered her a temporary court job that didn't pay benefits, which she didn't take.

She filed her suit after county commissioners rejected her claim for $75,000 in damages for appearance discrimination.

Edwards recalled Friday that he complimented Hart on her appearance and that he offered her the temporary job. But he said the decision not to hire her was made by midlevel supervisors, not him.